Last night, in reading about the vice presidential debate, I wondered if Paul Ryan had not been as prepared as I had anticipated he would be. He had not been more assertive because he had not expected Joe Biden to be so aggressive.
Perhaps, I wondered this morning, there was method to his restrained. He, like most of us, had surely heard Joe Biden yesterday ask if a reporter had ever seen him “rope-a-dope“? Steven Hayward is “certain . . .”
. . . that it was Biden’s plan to try to get under Ryan’s skin, drive Ryan off his core strength (his passionate wonkiness), cause him to make a mistake, lose his composure, or look too young and unready for high office. Biden utterly failed to do this. Ryan kept his cool throughout.
“Perhaps“, offered Jim Geraghty echoing the point, Biden’s antics were part of “a bold but failed strategy to try to get Ryan to suddenly exclaim, “What the hell is wrong with you, man?”
Did the Democrats want to provoke an angry reaction from Ryan to suggest that the young men is unfit for higher office? But, instead of Ryan’s reaction becoming the subject of today’s conversations — and jokes — Biden’s boorishness is. If the Democrat had meant to rope a dope last night, Paul Ryan wasn’t the dope who got roped.
(Or was Biden hoping Ryan would ask moderator Martha Raddatz to step in and so look weak?)